Heading into possibly their biggest game of the season, the Denver Broncos will stick by their plan of keeping the injured/washed up Peyton Manning on the sidelines while Brock Osweiler start another game.
Osweiler didn’t exactly light it up on his first start, but the Broncos got back to winning (17-15 in Chicago) and he didn’t make any mistakes. That allowed the defense to hold off the Bears for just enough drives, including the last one, to win the game. Will it be enough against the New England Patriots? It just might be, after their offensive problems in the win over the Buffalo Bills, a team the Broncos might learn a thing or two from in how to ruffle Brady’s feathers and keep Rob Gronkowski pretty much out of the game.
There are those who believe that this now marks the beginning of the Gary Kubiak era in the Denver. The offense he ran with Manning at quarterback was limited and skewed towards Manning’s limitations and preferences. Now that he has a clean slate in Osweiler to shout at through the head piece, it’ll be much more closer to how he likes it, although Osweiler himself has his own set of flaws and things that he can’t do.
Osweiler is tall and has a great arm, but he isn’t very mobile. So far, the best thing you can say about him is that he isn’t trying to do things he can’t, which is probably perfect for Kubiak. He focused on finding Vernon Davis and Owen Daniels, but maybe with a little bit more confidence we’ll start seeing bigger plays and longer passes in the direction of a pair of very talented wide receivers.
The Broncos have lost in the regular season to the Patriots during the Manning era, again and again and again. In the playoffs, their one encounter, played in Denver, led them to a disastrous Super Bowl. Maybe now that Manning is gone they’ll finally get to resume their win count over the Patriots when it matters, but not as much. Manning in the meantime is probably hearing everyone say if he should or shouldn’t retire, but isn’t letting anyone know what’s on his mind. As far as he’s concerned, there’s probably still a shot at playing again this season.